What is it?
The Volvo S60 D4 is the most frugal yet, and the first Volvo to record emissions below 100g/km. The new D4 is the first S60 to use Volvo’s new family of engines, a clean-sheet design built and designed by Volvo.
In time, Volvo will replace its entire engine line-up with two engines – one petrol and one diesel – with four diesel power outputs ranging from 120 to 230bhp. The 178bhp model tested here will become the third in that range, so despite those 99g/km emissions, it gives a tantalising taste of things to come – not least because the design enables straightforward electrification.
The engine uses the latest fuel-injector technology from Denso, which allows fuel to be injected at 2500 bar rail pressure, some 500-700 bar more than most competitors. Each injector features a sensor, rather than a single sensor shared across all four, and permits more precise injector control. Volvo says it can inject up to nine times per combustion cycle.
Other technologies see a reduction in internal friction, improved thermal management and exhaust gas after treatment.
What's it like?
Excellent. On paper, it renders every other diesel engine in the range redundant. Its 6.9sec 0-62mph time matches the 2.4-litre five-pot-shod D5. Its 74.3mpg official figure on the combined cycle makes it the most frugal in the range.
That not only makes it a superb choice for the private buyer, but an impressive money saver for the company car driver. Choose the entry-level Business Edition model and it’ll cost 20 per cent tax payers £53.99 a month - £35.80 less than a BMW 320d SE.
That new 2.0-litre mill is punchy and offers excellent straight-line performance, especially when you consider those running costs. Those that shed a tear when Volvo announced an end to its five- and six-cylinder engines will be pleasantly surprised to find a distinct lack of four-pot diesel clatter. And there’s a smooth power delivery too.
The steering is accurate and smooth, offering reasonable feedback, and it grips well too. It’s all very Volvo, but little more than that.
But the S60’s trump card, particularly in the Business Edition and SE-spec models with their smaller wheels, is the way it rides. The pliant suspension soaks bumps, and there’s an exceptional level of mechanical refinement meaning the engine note – and wind noise – are both well isolated.
Should I buy one?
Yes. Subjectively and objectively the new D4 DRIVe engine turns the dial on an already appealing compact exec.
It may lack the dynamic finesse of a BMW 3-series or Audi A4, but there’s kudos for not following the Teutonic crowd. And those running costs, particularly for company car drivers, are increasingly difficult to ignore.
Volvo S60 D4 SE Nav
Price £29,395; 0-62mph 6.9sec; Top speed 143mph; Economy 74.3mpg (combined); CO2 99g/km; Kerb weight 1580kg; Engine 4 cyls turbodiesel, 1969cc; Power 178bhp at 4250rpm; Torque 295lb ft at 1750-2500; Gearbox 6-speed manual